New Migration Project was inspired by the massive human migrations occurring at a global scale and the xenophobic rhetoric currently shaping our global response to the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. In 2015, 65.3 million people globally were displaced, a population greater than that of the United Kingdom. The same year, the construction of new barriers to divide neighboring countries was greater than any other time in history. By capturing and sharing these migrants’ stories, the project emphasizes the diversity of human experience to further its mission of building better cross-cultural understanding.
¡Boza! is the first film funded by the project and is a feature-length documentary about the lives of three young sub-Saharan immigrants in Spain. The European migrant and refugee crisis has entered world consciousness through the power of media with impactful journalism documenting the journey across the Eastern and Central Mediterranean. ¡Boza! brings awareness to a little-known migratory route, which begins in sub-Saharan Africa and ends in Spain.
At the Strait of Gibraltar, nine miles separates the world’s richest and poorest continents. Visible from the shores of Morocco, the southern tip of Spain offers a beacon of hope for African migrants desperate to start a new life in Europe. Most of these migrants come from war-torn and poverty stricken sub-Saharan-Africa, where 48.5% of the population live on $1.25 a day.
Once a migrant decides to leave their country and often family behind, the grueling journey to Europe often takes years. If their destination is Spain, Morocco offers the last step via two clandestine routes: one by land and one by sea. Few know that Spain is the only land border between Africa and the European Union due to its two enclaves in Northern Morocco, Ceuta and Melilla. These Spanish territories have historically served as an entry point into Europe, and tens of thousands of migrants have climbed the barbed wire fence or swam the border crossing.
Even fewer know that migrants gather in makeshift camps in the forests of Morocco, checking the border daily and waiting for their chance to scale three barbed wire fences—one 19 feet tall—that narrowly separate Africa from Europe. Once safely across, they joyously chant “¡Boza!” (Victory) through the streets, celebrating what they think marks the end of their suffering. Others avoid the border at the enclaves and opt for the equally treacherous route of crossing to the mainland by sea. With the media focused on migratory routes across the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, the less-frequented but arguably more treacherous path to Spain receives little attention.
Storytelling offers a far more expressive and impactful medium than facts or figures and has the distinctive power to transcend borders—essential for inspiring global change. By starting at the individual level, we can create a global community that emphasizes compassion, acceptance, and understanding over hate, exclusion, and difference.